Folding, Teaching, Zooming

Fascinated by Folding: maybe that’s what I should called the next set of classes I’ll be teaching at Center for Book Arts, via zoom, over 4 weeks starting afternoons at the end of April or for 4 weeks in the evenings starting in the beginning of May.

Alas, these classes are called Flat Foldable Pleats, and Edge Release Explorations. I don’t think anyone will even know what that means. I’m hoping that the picture will sell the class,

I’ve been taking this deep dive into pleating and edge-release folds, which is a whole different thing than symmetrical pop-ups, which I also love. After playing with unusual foldings, like miura folds, and examining Paul Jackson’s books for years, I started playing around with the idea of teaching these lesser known structures.

My last couple of submissions to the Bridges Organizations Math Art shows, like the piece above, have reflected my interest these pleated folds.

They are fun, challenging, and always surprising. Some of the folds, like the hexagon bellows there with the compass leaning against it, are a bear to fold.

Duck and Fold

Other folds, like simple one above, in which an edges of the paper are released by cuts from the folds they might have been bound to, create gorgeous architectural effects, which become even more delightful with some thoughtful photography.

In fact, many mornings this past winter I would get up to do early morning folding just so that I could photograph the constructions in the early morning sunlight. It was a satisfying way to start the day, especially during those stressful days from early November until mid January.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that it appears that I’m getting the hang of teaching on zoom. I feel like I’m figuring out how to create the feeling of connection that I like so much about in person teaching. One big discovery for me is that it’s great to ask people to unmute themselves for our whole class. Don’t know why more people don’t do this. This leaves the way open for people to interject comments, ask questions at critical moments, and lets me know if my pace needs to be adjusted.

I’m finding, too, that some people who take workshops have figured out how to adjust their cameras so that I can see them AND their workspace. Seeing people’s work and as well as their expressions as they work is such a pleasure.

A year ago I had no idea that I’d be able to do this kind of teaching from a little production studio in my home that I could not have even imagined being there. The twists and turns of life never cease to surprise me.


Making Something before Looking Forward

Georgia on My Mind, January 5, 2021

The act of making something focuses me in a positive direction Paper folding engages me in just the right way.

Isolated here at home due to pandemic concerns, feeling agitated by the events of the day, it occurs to me that maybe you would like to do a bit of paper folding, too.

To make the monolith above, I start with a template of straight lines that is on page 68 of Paul Jackson’s book Cut and Fold Techniques for Pop-Up Designs.

I sketch out the lines on a piece of paper. The vertical lines are evenly spaced across the paper. A few days ago I folded a model based on Jackson’s lines exactly as they are, which I suggest that you do too.

Cut and Fold lines for Georgia on My Mind

For this day’s fold, I’m taking some liberties with the lines. Adding some curves, redefining the top edge, then doing the folds according to the first drawing. And that’s it.

I added a bit of color to my model, using a highlighter and a yellow circle. Then I carefully photographed it so it would look enormous. It’s four inches high.

Pretty simple for something that is so dimensional.

Full disclosure, I didn’t draw my curvy cut lines, simply made an indication with straight lines about where the cutting should go. That what works for me. Do what ever works for you. Hope you try this out.





Folding Paper while the Sun Rises

I don’t usually get up at 5:30.

A few weeks ago I was wide awake quite early so I went downstairs, did some cleaning, then settled down with a book I often looked at and began folding paper.

Doing something with paper is what I’m always doing. Folding along with Paul Johnson’s books is something I’ve done, but usually just now and then.

I completely enjoy how a few folds and a dramatically lit image can create the illusion of something monumental.

This folding exercise was a sweet alternative to checking the news, something, which, to my dismay, I have been doing too often. I began my day the next day with folding some paper.

The first week I did this I didn’t realize how lucky I was that the sun actually showed itself at sunrise. Letting the early rays create dramatic shadows is just the best.

This early morning folding felt so good that I started looking forward to doing them as I went to sleep each night.

Then, the following week, morning after morning, the sun stayed behind the clouds. Oh, well. I managed to eek out some photos.

All this time I’ve basically been recreating the folds in Jackson’s books. I have a collection of his books, which I’ve been continually browsing through. This is one of the ways that I learn: I copy from someone who knows more than me. Eventually and always. as I acquire skill through copying, I start personalizing what I’ve learned. For instance, on Thanksgiving I wanted to make something to post to my friends that sent out a message of love.

I begun noticing how interesting these forms look when the paper is closed.

In fact all of the foldings I’ve been doing fold flat, They all have a silhouettes that are interesting and seem somewhat unrelating to the opened up version. Turns out that there is a name for paper objects which fold flat. They are said to have “flat-foldability,” which means that they exhibit these characteristics:

(This list below has been copied and pasted from

  1. All crease lines must be straight line segments.
  2. All interior vertices in the crease pattern must be of even degree.
  3. At each interior vertex, the sum of every other angle must be 180◦.
  4. There must exist a superposition ordering function that does not violate the non-crossing

I’m not invested in saying I will make one of these every morning, but, for now, it’s just such pleasant way to start the day that I don’t see myself stopping this early morning foray into folding any time soon. I’m interested in seeing where goes.

In the meantime, there is the rest of the day.

I’ve just finished submitting proposals to The Center For Book Arts to zoom teach with them in the spring. More on that VERY soon.

Also, have making a new paper design for my Hidden Boxes kit that I sell on Etsy.


I’m really happy with these designs. At the moment of this writing this kit has not been put into the Etsy shop just yet. As soon as it is, which will be today sometime, I will add a live link. Addendum: Here’s the link to these papers in my Etsy shop Kit

Oh, and didn’t fold this morning. Just wrote about it.


folding · Paper Toy

Six-fold, flat-fold, Paper-fold

Paper Folding the Ferozkah Jaali
Paper Folding the Ferozkah Jaali

I found a fold.

If paperfolding graps your attention, prepare to be overwhelmed.  There’s three things to unpack here: the fold, the pattern on the fold, and how they interact.

I had been wondering if I could fold a tetrahedron out of a rectangle.

Tetrahedrons and other shapes
tetrahedrons and other shapes

Turns out, yes. I can make a tetrahedron with a square base or a triangular base out of the same piece of paper using the same folds in different ways.

Looks like a fish
Looks like a fish

Then I started seeing that I could make other shapes out of the same pieces of paper using the same folds differently.

Some shapes are flat, others are dimensional.

I’ve been playing with these all week, and I am still finding different shapes that these folds create.


I’ve also been drawing this six-fold pattern from Islamic Geometry called the Ferozkoh Jaali. It occurred to me that it would go perfectly with the folds I was making.

detail of Ferozkah Jaali
detail of Ferozkah Jaali


This is just a small portion of the pattern. I’ve been coloring copies of these in all week, trying to get to know the shapes.

Here’s the fold that I’m using:


Mountain and Valley folds
Mountain and Valley folds

It’s four mountain folds (diagonals) and two valley folds (horizontal and vertical) that are created around equilateral triangles. Oh, and there’s a slice in the middle. One horizontal slice.

Now here’s the first wonderful thing about using this image with my folds:

No matter how you use the creases (which are around the equilateral triangles) , the pattern lines up. In the photo above, a corner is peeking through that slice in the paper, and, look, the pattern lines up.

Equilateral triangle(s)
Equilateral triangle(s)

I printed the design on the fronts and backs of my papers, and look, when the paper wraps around itself, the pattern lines up.

Now there is one more thing to mention. Hold on to your seats. This is wonderful. But, first, here’s the foundation of the image I created, first by hand, then on the computer, because I needed the precision of the computer image.


Okay, so as I’ve been folding and refolding and refolding again, and finding different shapes all the time, the last final amazing thing that I noticed (and this makes so much sense) ….

Some heart shapes?
Some heart shapes?

…is that every shape I make with these folds is echoed somewhere in the lines of the  geometric drawing that is printed on the paper.

This makes me so happy, well, I can’t even describe it.

Another heart shape
Another heart shape

Well, there you have it. Hope you love it as much as I do.

covered with NOT geometry
covered with NOT geometry

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, I think this fold looks good with just about anything on it.